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NFL Week 11 rundown

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints The lowdown: It's unfair to label the 49ers as a disappointment. If the season ended today, San Fran would earn a postseason berth and present as a daunting foe. Conversely, the Niners have ...

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Old 11-17-2013, 09:36 AM   #1
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NFL Week 11 rundown

San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints

The lowdown: It's unfair to label the 49ers as a disappointment. If the season ended today, San Fran would earn a postseason berth and present as a daunting foe. Conversely, the Niners have seen an unexpected amount of obstacles in their path to the Meadowlands. San Francisco has struggled against playoff-caliber teams, getting embarrassed by Seattle and Indianapolis and losing a close struggle to Carolina last week. All-Pro Aldon Smith has missed the majority of the fall to deal with a substance-abuse problem. Both sides of the ball have seen a startling amount of injuries. These wounds have particularly been damaging to the receiving corps, evidenced in the unit's league-low 187.6 yards per game.

It won’t be much easier this week, as the Niners take on a renovated and revived New Orleans defense. New defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has energized a dormant resistance into one conceding a mere 18.1 points per game, fifth-best in the NFL. The biggest upgrade has been the performance of the secondary. Following last campaign's concession of 292.6 yards per outing (second-worst in football), the Saints now rank third in the league, holding opponents to 199.9 yards per contest. Perennially overshadowed by the high-octane offense, the New Orleans D is making noise of its own.

But make no mistake, the Saints are still powered by the aerial stylings of Brees and the offense. In his eighth year with the Bayou Boys, Brees has never been better, averaging 340.4 yards per game (second-best in his career) with only seven interceptions in 363 attempts. His rapport with tight end Jimmy Graham is unparalleled, and with the assimilation of deep-threat Kenny Stills, the Saints may just be scratching the service of their passing potential. The x-factor in this attack is the running game. Dormant for the first half of the year, Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles exploded on Sunday night, combining for 244 rushing yards and three trips to pay dirt. Better yet, this trio added 115 yards and two touchdowns in the receiving game. Given the Saints entered as one of the worst terrain assaults in the league, the output has to be viewed as an aberration at the moment. If this harvest can be somewhat maintained? Watch out.

Line: New Orleans -3, 47.5 points

Fantasy impact: Promise, I’m not stating this to be a contrarian or to kindle reaction…but, isn’t it kind of odd that not a single media entity has questioned if the Niners traded the right quarterback last offseason? Think of the yield Colin Kaepernick would have returned after his strong showing in the playoffs, and at 29, it’s not like Alex Smith is that old.

I guarantee you this: such a proposition has definitely crossed Jim Harbaugh’s mind. Since Kaepernick’s auspicious season opener (412 passing yards, three scores), the third-year arm has severely regressed, owning more turnovers (10) than touchdowns (nine). Kaepernick’s 56.4 completion percentage ranks 29th in the NFL and is a major drop-off from last season’s 62.4 mark. Even his terrain prowess has taken a hit, averaging 5.8 yards per rush compared to 2012’s 6.6 figure.

Certainly this is not entirely Kaepernick’s fault, as the offensive line and receiving corps have been dealing with injuries. Alas, don’t look for things to improve this weekend in the Big Easy. An energized New Orleans defense is relinquishing the third-fewest fantasy points to field generals this season, and it’s concession of 18.1 points is fifth-best in the NFL. Keep Kaepernick on the pine.

TV: FOX – 4:25 PM EST

The 49ers win if… Kapernick delivers a sound and steady performance, the Niners limit Graham over the middle, Ryan skips the game in order to party on Bourbon Street.

The Saints win if… Thomas, Sproles and Ingram keep up the backfield dexterity, Kaepernick’s struggles continue.

Prediction: Saints 33, 49ers 31

FOX NFL Week 11 Rundown - NFL News | FOX Sports on MSN

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Old 11-17-2013, 11:30 AM   #2
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Re: NFL Week 11 rundown

I would be shocked if the 9ers score more than 24.

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